Driving Lesson Tips #1 know your car
When you first start out learning to drive, there’s a lot to learn. A top tip is know what the controls in the car are and what they do.
Keeping this fresh in your mind will help you get moving on the first lesson.
Lets start with the foot controls:
There are 3 foot pedals in a manual car.
Starting from the right the first pedal is the accelerator or GAS pedal as instructors prefer to refer to it as.
Gas is an American word to abbreviate gasoline, it suggests that this pedal controls the amount of petrol that goes in to the engine, and it’s easier and quicker for instructors to use the word gas on lesson.
You use the gas pedal with your right foot, it’s like turning on a tap in your bathroom, the more water you want the more you turn the tap. In the case of a car, the more petrol you want in the engine the further you press the pedal to the floor, if you want less petrol then just a slight press downwards will be sufficient.
The more petrol you request (squeezing the pedal down) the faster the car will go.
The centre pedal, second from the right is the brake. This pedal slows the vehicle down and can bring it to a full stop when needed.
If you’ve ever ridden a push bike this pedal acts the same way that the brake lever does.
A brake lever on a bike has slack (free movement before the brakes react and the cycle starts to slow), this is because you have to first grip the wheel before they start working.
Then the harder you squeeze the lever the quicker you will stop. If you only squeeze the lever gentle and hold it in place the cycle will slow down, letting the lever go will release the brakes and allow the cycle to continue moving at the new speed.
It’s exactly the same with a car, except the brakes on a car are much more powerful and a car is a lot heavier, and faster. But the principle is the same except you use your right foot.
When slowing a car down using the foot brake pedal, as the car comes to an almost stop, try to release some of the pressure on the brake pedal by about the width of a £ coin to stop the car from jolting, but be careful not to release the brakes by too much because you’ll keep rolling.
Your right foot has two pedals to control, the gas pedal (accelerator and the brake). The reason is because you don’t speed up and slow down together, it’s one or the other.
The third pedal from the right is the clutch pedal. You only use your left foot on this one.
The clutch is designed to connect the power (engine) to the road wheels, and it takes practice to use the clutch smoothly so that you don’t cause the car to stall or leap frog down the road.
It’s every learners worst nightmare stalling a car, but it shouldn’t be. Even the most experienced driver stalls occasionally.
The art is to try and understand whats happening with the cars components when operating the clutch.
Again using the principle of a cycle, when you start from rest you have to put pressure on the pedals to start the wheels turning, well with the clutch the same pressure applies but when releasing it from the floor.
Controlling the pressure you have on the clutch when lifting the pedal will determine how smoothly the car moves away. The quicker you release the pressure the more chance the car will jump forward or stall. The smoother and steadier you release the clutch the smoother you’ll move away.
When depressing the clutch, the quicker you get it down to the floor the better, because this movement takes it out of operation.
The pedal furthest left in the picture, is not a pedal its a foot rest, so that you can rest your left foot when you are not using the clutch.
More tips coming soon.